Award Information

The SAH Award for Film and Video was established in 2013 to recognize annually the most distinguished work of film or video on the history of the built environment. 

The award is global in scope with no geographic or political boundaries limiting subject matter or production team. The topic of the film or video must be any aspect of the built environment including the history of buildings, interiors, monuments, landscapes, cultural landscapes, urbanism, designers, engineers, clients, preservation, conservation, citizen engagement, or other topics related to the history of the built environment. 

Films and videos representing a wide range of methodologies will be considered including documentaries, critiques, theoretical works and documentary recreations of lost sites. Films and videos by independent directors and producers, including those with a K-12 educational focus, are also welcome.

Films or videos must have an initial release date within the past three years. Honorable Mentions may also be awarded.

Entries for consideration will be submitted, on a DVD or a link to an online viewing site such as Vimeo, to the award committee members and the SAH office by the director, producer, or producer’s distributor.

Nominees will also submit a 150–250-word narrative that addresses the goals of the film/video, the intended audience, where the work has been screened/aired/viewed, and what kind of response the work has received.

The most important criterion is the work’s contribution to the understanding of the built environment, defined either as deepening that understanding or as bringing that understanding to new audiences. A second criterion is a high standard of research and analysis, whether the production was for a scholarly audience, a general audience, or both. A third criterion is excellence in design and production.

The Award will consist of a certificate and citation that will be presented at the Awards Ceremony at the Society’s Annual International Conference. Following the presentation, the film will be shown at the conference. The Award will be announced in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the SAH Newsletter, and on the SAH website. The winning film or video will become part of the Society’s permanent archive, housed in the library at the Society’s headquarters, Charnley-Persky House, in Chicago. The recipient will be required to supply two copies of the award-winning film on DVD for the Society’s archive.

Nominations for the 2024 SAH Award for Film and Video have closed. Nominations for the 2025 award cycle will open in June 2024.

2023 We Love We Self Up Here

Kannan Arunasalam, Director and Tao DuFour and Natalie Melas, Producers, 2021


Not Just Roads
Nitin Bathla and and Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou, Directors and Producers, 2020

2021 Uppland
Based on research by Killian Doherty and directed by Edward Lawrenson, 2018

The First Line of China
Hanwen Zhang, Director
Hanwen Zhang, Producer, 2018

Honorable Mentions:
City Dreamers, 2018
Director: Joseph Hillel

Producer: Ziad Touma

Learning from Buffalo, 2018
Filmmaker: Rima Yamazaki
2019 Vilanova Artigas – the Architect and the Light
Directed by Laura Artigas and Peter Gorski
Olé Produções, 2015
2018 Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future
Director: Peter Rosen
Peter Rosen Productions, 2016
2017 Talking to My Father
Filmmaker: Sé Merry Doyle
Loopline Film, 2015
  Honorable Mention:
Tower House
sixpackfilm, 2013
Filmmaker: Karl-Heinz Klopf

A Tropical House
sixpackfilm, 2015
Filmmaker:Karl-Heinz Klopf
2016 The New Rijksmuseum
Filmmaker: Oeke Hoogendijk
First Run Features, 2014
  Honorable Mention:
Haus Tugendhat
Pandora Film, 2013
Filmmakers: Dieter Reifarth (director) and Filipp Goldscheider (producer)
2015 The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System
Library of American Landscape History in association with Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc, 2013
2014 Unfinished Spaces
Filmmakers: Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray
Bullfrog Films, 2012

Image: Film still from Vilanova Artigas – the Architect and the Light

2024 Award Recipient

Barry Farm: Community, Land, and Justice in Washington, D.C.
Year Completed: 2023
Sabiyha Prince and Samuel George, Directors
DC Legacy Project and Bertelsmann Foundation, Producers

Take a left off of the Anacostia Freeway on to Firth Sterling Ave – what do you see? You see empty fields. You see shiny new buildings just breaking ground. Construction equipment. Sweeping views of the capital. As one community member states in this film, if you are a developer, you see a gold mine. But these empty fields hold powerful memories. Enslaved people once worked this land. Later, during Reconstruction, formerly enslaved individuals purchased it, and built one of DC’s first thriving Black communities. Here, the city constructed a sprawling public housing complex in the 1940s, beloved by insiders, if notorious to outsiders. Here, the movement for Welfare Rights took shape. Here, the Junkyard Band honed its chops on homemade instruments before putting a turbocharge into the city’s Go-Go music. Here, residents lived in the Barry Farms Dwellings up until 2019, when the final community members were removed for the redevelopment. This documentary film, a collaboration between the Bertelsmann Foundation and the DC Legacy Project, and directed by Sabiyha Prince and Samuel George, tells a story of a journey for community, land, and for justice. It is a story of Barry Farm, but it is also a story of Washington, DC. And, in the cycles of place and displacement, it is a story of the United States of America.


2024 Honorable Mention

Tropic Fever
Year Completed: 2022
Robin Hartanto Honggare, Mahardika Yudha, Perdana Roswaldy, Directors

The semi-autobiographical account of a European plantation manager on Sumatra during Dutch colonial rule becomes a starting point for reflections on the structure of the plantation itself.